Ex-Chatham police chief gets community service for ripping off retirement system

National News

HUDSON, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Former Chatham Police Chief Peter Volkmann will not serve any prison time for mismanaging pensions and defrauding the village. He received a sentence Monday of 200 hours of community service.

“You’ve done good in your career,” Columbia County Court Judge Richard Koweek said to Volkmann, alluding to an addiction recovery program he founded during his time as chief. He added, “You’ve also messed up royally here.”

Volkmann was police chief in Chatham since 2013. He has also held recent leadership positions among police departments in Stockport and Hudson. His career led up to a lengthy investigation into his abuse of his public position for his own benefit.

“I think that you know right from wrong,” said Judge Koweek, “and I think you know that was wrong. The idea of double-dipping is not correct.”

A joint probe by the Columbia County District Attorney’s office, State Police, and State Comptroller’s Office found that Volkmann cheated the retirement system out of over $74,222 by circumventing state post-retirement income restrictions. He hid public-source income from 19 municipalities and school districts over the statutory limit by “funneling the earnings through” PF Volkmann & Associates, a private business.

He also used falsified mileage vouchers and other reimbursements to steal $18,607 from the Village of Chatham. He’s repaid the stolen money as restitution, totaling $92,829. “I devastated my family. I devastated myself,” Volkmann said in court. “I lost my house. I lost my business. I lost my standing in the community.”

The prosecution expressed concern to Judge Koweek that Volkmann made comments to a probation officer suggesting he may be dismissive of the felony and misdemeanor to which he pleaded guilty, and doesn’t take the crimes seriously. However, the ex-chief’s attorney asserted he in no way meant to impeach his plea, which Volkmann echoed, adding that he takes full responsibility for his actions.

 “I was trying to assert to her that once this has been completed, I am looking forward to find footing and moving forward with my life as convicted felon,” Volkmann said.

Volkmann will have to complete half of his court-ordered community service by July 1, 2022.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.